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Should My College Student Have a Power of Attorney?

Should My College Student Have a Power of Attorney? Recently, my son graduated from high school, and, after a few trips with his friends this summer, he will be heading off to college in the fall. In addition to getting him all up to date with his dental work and eyeglass prescription and purchasing some new clothes and other items for his college dorm room, I am preparing certain legal documents for him in case of an emergency. This blog discusses the legal documents that I recommend that parents obtain for their college-age students before they head off to college. I recommend these documents because, without them, you, as parents, may not have any legal rights for your children over 18 years of age, even if they are covered under your insurance and you are supporting them financially. Recommended Documents for Your College Student The following is a list of the documents that I recommend for college-aged students: Durable General Powers of Attorney. This financial power of attorney gives the student’s parents the authority to sign legal documents on behalf of the student and also gives the parents access to direct transactions for the student’s financial accounts. In general, I recommend that the student sign a durable general power of attorney to cover all financial matters. In addition, in some cases, I also recommend that the student sign the form provided by the financial institution for the student’s accounts. Having this legal authorization in place will give you authorization to assist your student. This is particularly important if your student is studying abroad for a semester or two. Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. These documents allow you, as the parent, to make medical decisions for your student if he or she cannot make them. In case they are ever needed, make sure that these medical powers of attorney also have mental health care powers within them. Without a health care power of attorney, you may be precluded from making medical decisions for your student in an emergency situation. A Living Will, or a similar document, is the student’s wishes for his or her end of life decisions. HIPAA Forms. HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which provides that your student’s medical records and information is protected from third parties. This is generally a good thing, except when the third party is the parent. This form authorizes medical care providers to release and share medical information about the students with their...

How Long Does Probate Take?

How Long Does Probate Take? After a loved one dies, family members often ask: “How long does probate take?” In general, provided that there are no difficult parties, no difficult assets, and no other complications, a probate case will take approximately 6 to 12 months to administer from start to finish. After the appointment of the personal representative, there are several steps that need to be completed. This blog discusses these specific steps and also discusses the factors that can cause the probate process to be delayed. The Personal Representative’s Duties The following is a brief list of the primary tasks that the personal representative needs to complete: Notice to Heirs and Devisees. Once the personal representative has been appointed, he or she must send notice of the probate case to all of the heirs and devisees. The notice includes the name and address of the personal representative, indicates that the notice is being sent to persons who have or may have an interest in the estate, discloses whether a bond has been filed, and describes the court where papers relating to the estate are on file. Notice of the appointment of a personal representative and notice of the probate of a Will must be mailed within 30 days of the probate of the Will. In an informal probate case, an heir has four months from the receipt of the notice to commence a formal proceeding. Notice to Creditors. Upon appointment, the personal representative should give notice to all creditors of his appointment. The notice to creditors announces the appointment of the personal representative, gives his or her address, and notifies the creditors that, unless they present their claims within four months from the date of first publication, their claims are forever barred. The creditor’s claim period expires four months from date of first publication. In addition to publication of notice, personal notice must be given to known or ascertainable creditors. Notice to the Internal Revenue Service.  The following may need to be filed with the IRS: Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number). This is commonly filed online. Form 56 (Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship). Notice to the Arizona Department of Revenue. The following may be filed with the ADOR: Form 210 ADFC (Assumption of Duties in a Fiduciary Capacity). Note that the Order to Personal Representatives states that notice to the Arizona Department of Revenue must be mailed within 30 days of appointment. Tax Returns. The decedent’s final individual income tax return is due on April 15th of...

Hurry – It’s Not Too Late for Your 2016 Charitable Gifts!

Hurry – It’s Not Too Late for Your 2016 Charitable Gifts! I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas holiday! Before the end of the year, there are two charitable giving opportunities that I wanted to bring to your attention from a tax perspective. First, if you have an IRA and you are interested in giving some of the IRA to charity this year, you can make the distribution directly to your favorite charity (the “IRA charitable rollover”) without paying any income tax. Second, in Arizona, there are at least 3 great tax credits available for contributions made to public schools (the “public school tax credit”), for contributions made to school tuition organizations for scholarships to private schools (the “private school tax credit”), and for contributions made to charitable organizations to support the working poor (the “working poor tax credit”). However, the deadline for most of these opportunities is December 31st. How Does the IRA Charitable Rollover Work? If you are age 70 ½ or older, you may make a tax-free distribution from your IRA for charitable purposes as long as the transfer is made by December 31, 2016. In general, donors age 70 ½ and older may transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to the charity of their choice (provided that the donated amount is transferred by the IRA trustee directly to the charity), and this distribution is not subject to federal income tax. Although the taxpayer may not claim a charitable deduction for the amount donated, such amount will be excluded from the taxpayer’s gross income and will also be counted towards any required minimum distributions for 2016. However, it is extremely important not to withdraw funds from your IRA prior to making this gift. Instead, talk to a representative from the charity about the proper forms to complete in order to make the gift tax free. However, don’t delay. The deadline is December 31st. How Do the Arizona State Tax Credit Contributions Work? An individual may claim a tax credit for making contributions to a public school located in Arizona for the support of extracurricular activities or the character education programs. The credit is equal to the amount of the contribution, but it cannot exceed $400 for married filing joint filers and $200 for all other filers. Taxpayers claiming this credit will use a Form 322 with their Arizona tax return. An individual may also claim a tax credit for making a donation to a private school tuition organization for scholarships to...

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